Students, Community Members Gather for Black Heritage Service

HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 29, 2016 – High Point University’s third annual Black Heritage Service included moments of laughter, joy and empathy as students and the High Point community gathered Sunday in Hayworth Chapel.

Hosted by HPU’s Black Cultural Awareness Club, the Diversity Club and the Chapel and Religious Life Office, the service was a special time of sharing African American heritage, listening to the voices of the black experience, and encouraging all people to work together in promoting unity and understanding. The chapel was filled with HPU faculty and staff, students, community leaders and guests from across the Triad.

HPU’s Genesis Gospel Choir sings at the event.

HPU’s Genesis Gospel Choir sings at the event.

Danielle Criss, a senior theatre performance and dance major from Durham who is one of the original students involved in the creation of the service, said she was overjoyed at the turnout of the program.

“The Black Heritage Service was a beautiful, impactful program, and I hope everyone involved felt empowered when they left,” says Criss. “My hope is that hearts and minds have been touched by this program and that messages were received that this type of work in our community needs to be continued. I hope long after I’m gone from HPU, the celebration continues.”

Speaker Clint Smith provides a message about “Who We Are and Why Our Lives Matter,” at the service.

Speaker Clint Smith provides a message about “Who We Are and Why Our Lives Matter,” at the service.

Speaker Clint Smith, a teacher and writer who is known for his poetry and TED talks, provided a message about “Who We Are and Why Our Lives Matter.” The HPU Genesis Gospel Choir provided music for the service, and special guests the Otesha Cultural Arts Ensemble of Winston-Salem and The Black Box Project from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro also performed.

An offering was collected during the service in support of the Diversity Leadership Scholarship, created by Black Cultural Awareness and the Student Diversity Council for incoming freshmen who are empowered to continue the diversity initiatives on campus.

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